One of the first things Marla Richardson, Realtor for the Parks Brentwood office, does when she is discussing listing a client’s home is talk about home staging.
Research has shown what Richardson already knows from experience — staging increases the offering price by 7% with homes selling quicker than those not professionally staged.
Home staging is an important process in selling with the goal to make the home look more appealing to potential buyers. By using furniture, accessories, lighting and placement, the home becomes instantly more attractive during the showing.
Why is the first impression so valuable, you might ask? A study conducted into house buying patterns recently revealed the average decision to buy a house takes eight minutes.
“My gut tells me when listing a home what needs to be done,” Richardson says. “Sometimes if it is a newer home, minor adjustments. However, on older homes, often I will give a to-do list that includes updating lighting, paint and more.
“Sometimes the homeowner will question my suggestions, but more often than not, they trust me because of my years of experience in the industry.”
Staging offers homeowners a change to get rid of those unwanted or unneeded items and get a head start on packing.
When thinking of staging, homeowners need to keep décor neutral and welcoming. This includes depersonalizing rooms because you want buyers to imagine them living in your home, not seeing your photographs. Think about adding a pop of color and be sure to showcase organization in closets and areas most frequently used in the home.
Richardson, like most top-producing agents, keeps a list of contractors and service providers that she can call in a moment’s notice to assist homeowners.
One area she feels strongly about is lighting. Are all your lightbulbs matching? Switches working? Updated lighting on point will be noticed, she says.
“Making sure the lights all match and are the right color might seem picky, however, for photos, it makes a difference,” Richardson says.
A contractor Richardson calls on frequently is EARSHOT Electric to be sure lighting looks great, is safe and will easily pass inspection.
When it comes to décor, Richardson will give homeowners a checklist of areas she sees immediately that need to be changed with numbers of trusted providers and contractors.
As part of her marketing package, having a stager work on the listing is a service Richardson provides. This is not something all agents offer.
When Richardson calls one of the two stagers she works with, it can simply be a few hours sprucing up the home, moving furniture they already own, and the cost is minimal.
Savvy Home Staging & Redesign, LLC is owned by Caren Kirkpatrick and has been working with Richardson for several years. The two work well together, as Kirkpatrick knows what Richardson envisions for the home’s look.
On a home Richardson recently sold quickly, Kirkpatrick staged using warm-colored, on-trend furniture; artwork to enhance the space; and accent décor to make the rooms look inviting.
Surrency Interiors, owned by Andrianna Surrency, helps stage listings, and she is Richardson’s personal designer. Surrency recently styled a lake house at Tims Ford Lake, built by Southside Builders, for the builder to take photos and promote the new neighborhood.
“When a buyer walks in, the goal is for them to experience a feeling,” Surrency says. “I tell people to use a Pinterest board for inspiration to help them prepare to sell their home.
“I try to find inexpensive home decor, use my home staging techniques, encourage the owner to declutter, as these are ways to attract potential buyers.”
In addition to furniture, decluttering spaces and fixing lighting, both Richardson and Surrency agree the home must be clean.
“Your home must be clean,” Richardson says. “A red flag is grimy kitchens and bathroom. Make your home shine and smell clean when someone walks in the door.”
In Tennessee, because of the heat, showers can get surface mold easily.
“Mix a spray bottle with one-part water and one-part bleach,” Surrency says. “Spray it on the wall and watch the mold disappear.”
First impressions matter, and before a potential buyer walks into your home, what do they see? The yard.
Curb appeal matters, and when you think of staging inside the home, you must consider what buyers see.
A neat and well-kept yard, maintained shrubs and trimmed trees all matter. In addition, seasonal flowers or Kimberly ferns by the front door offer a warmth a buyer will notice. For fall, mums and a few pumpkins don’t hurt either, if tastefully displayed.
For luxury homes, often Richardson has dusk photos scheduled to showcase how beautiful the home is in the evening. This is where lighting again matters, and she hires Garrett Dixon, of Distinctive Home Tours, to take Drone photos showcasing the property.
Using light fixtures that showcase the home or spotlights to bring attention to the beauty of the yard at night make a big difference. There is nothing like a soft glow of light along a pathway or a warmly lit patio to create a sense of welcome and make your property stand out from the crowd.
If considering listing, or if your home needs updating, use these tips to increase the value of your home.